ZR Comment: The two big stories taking shape this week are the rumors surrounding the revival of the Barotseland Agreement and the resumption of the government’s attack on the opposition. In an op/ed published on UKZambians, the author expresses his frustration with President Sata’s flip-flopping on the issue: “We have seen a number of people falling over each other saying Sata was right in refusing to honour the Agreement as it would unnecessarily bring division and disunity. Zambia is a unitary state and the restoration of the Barotseland Agreement cannot be tolerated as it would bring the country backwards, they argue. Others have even suggested that the Barotseland Agreement will bring about ethnic cleansing, tribalism and political instability.” Also, after a more or less quiet week, the Post and the Daily Mail are filled with headlines today showing that the PF has resumed its attack on the former ruling party (see below).
Corruption fight may review State secrets – Kunda
Former Vice-President, George Kunda says the government should be careful in its fight against corruption because it may end up revealing state secrets.
Featuring on Yatsani Radio yesterday, Kunda, who is also Muchinga MMD member of parliament, said it was important to protect government institutions.
“We have to protect the vice-presidency. It does not matter who takes over. Guy Scott has taken over. Mr Sata has taken over. We have to protect institutions. That is very important. But in the fight against corruption, we may end up destroying some of those institutions. We will be revealing state secrets. We will be revealing how the Vice-President’s office operates, how the President’s office operates, and things like that in the name of fighting corruption. You don’t do that,” he said.
“There are certain things which we hold dear as Zambians, where we have secrets which protect this country. Myself for example, I acted as president for this country several times, with the instruments of power. I must be responsible enough not to destroy my country and to protect individuals and the country so that we move as one, not what they are doing,” said Kunda.
Kunda recently to the press that the MMD lodged a series of complaints to UN secretary general Ban Ki-moon during his visit to Zambia that the Patriotic Front government was persecuting former leaders.
Don’t pardon former leaders-Mmembe
Zambia’s biggest private owned newspaper The Post editor-in-chief, Fred M’membe says all former leaders who committed crimes should be made to answer for their actions.
Mr. Mmembe said the PF government should not in any way be seen to pardon criminal activities committed by former leaders even if there is friendship involved.
He said this during the opening of an in-house training course for Post Newspaper journalists in Lusaka on Monday.
He says The Post, Zambia’s most influential media institution, was happy with the current leadership and would do its best to support government so that it delivers in accordance with the promises it made to the people.
Mr. Mmembe said the Newspaper’s support for government should not be seen as compromise because the paper was beyond compromise.
The Post Newspaper campaigned vigorously for the now ruling party through its editorial coverage and is credited for having helped the PF win the September 2011 election. This has raised fears among its countrywide readership that the widest circulating newspaper which is famous for its investigative scoops may now be compromised.
Rupiah’s campaign bus impounded
The joint government investigative wings have impounded a Higer luxury bus used by former president Rupiah Banda and the MMD in the run-up to the September 20, tripartite elections.
The bus which was branded “RB for President 2011 on Monday evening in Lusaka’s Makeni area.
Spokesperson for the investigative team, Charity Chanda confirmed the development and disclosed that the plate number for the carrier had been changed.
“The bus has been re-branded as Zambia Namibia Express and is being used for commercial purposes, under plate registration number ZNE 2113. But its original registration number was ALC 4686
She said the team has also impounded a Toyata Hilux registration number ALC 4991 belonging to the former ruling party.
Be clear on the Barotseland agreement, Sata urged
Opposition Zambians for Empowerment and Development (ZED) president has demanded for an explanation from the government over its U-turn on the restoration of the Barotseland Agreement of 1964.
ZED president Fred Mutesa says President Michael Sata should tell the people of Zambia if at all this is the time that he has realized the seriousness of the matter.
Dr. Mutesa says failure by President Sata to explain his new stance on the Barotseland agreement will give an impression that the Head of state duped Westerners during the campaigns.
President Sata has said he will be reluctant to urge his Cabinet to act on the recommendations that were submitted by a team he instituted to investigate the Mongu riots of January 14 2011.
Chinese accused of defiling girls freed
The Luanshya Magistrate Court has acquitted four Chinese Nationals who were accused of defiling and indecently assaulting two under-age Zambian girls.
Those acquitted are Zhu Xiang Jin, Hong Liu, Zhang Dailu and Yang Gang Qiang.
The four are employees of 15 MCC, a firm contracted by Luanshya Copper Mine.
In passing judgment, Magistrate Chitundu Nanyangwe says the evidence adduced by the prosecution was not collaborative.
Magistrate Nanyangwe says the case was a catalogue of errors by Police Officers involved in the entire investigations.
The arrest of the four Chinese nationals in November 2011 sparked outrage among anti-Chinese investments critics.
Former Labour minister Chishimba Kambwili once held a meeting with Chinese investors on the Copperbelt and warned them against flouting the laws of the land.
Copper prices to remain well-supported – experts
MARKET experts say copper prices are expected to remain well-supported by tight global supply.
Copper prices on Friday steadied after rising more than one per cent in the Thursday’s trading session following reassuring manufacturing data from China.
Benchmark copper on the London Metal Exchange (LME) dipped 0.1 to US $8,618.50 a tonne from Thursday’s close of US $8,630 a tonne.
The metal earlier hit a session high of US $8,670 a tonne, not far from the year’s peak of US $8,765 reached in early February.
The continued concerns about slow demand from the metal’s top consumer prevented further gains.
The metal has gained more than 13 per cent so far this year.
But demand from China – which consumes 40 percent of the world’s copper – has yet to pick up strongly after the Lunar New Year in January, raising worries that prices could retreat sharply.
Analysts say supply of copper would not be able to match demand this year, partly because of the appetite for the metal in emerging markets.
New environment law spells stiffer penalties
COMPANIES or people flouting environmental procedures will now face stiffer punishment with increased fines as outlined in the new environmental management Act of 2011.
According to provisions of the new legislative framework that has replaced the environmental protection and pollution control Act of 1990, penalties for not conducting an environmental impact assessment will attract a penalty of K126 million (about US$25, 000) or five years imprisonment.
Penalties for not keeping or submitting records to Zambia Environmental Management Agency (ZEMA) will attract a K54 million (about US$9, 000) fine or three years imprisonment.
Contravention of environmental standards and guidelines would cost K126 million or seven years imprisonment while offences relating to chemical spillage would cost K90 million (about US$18, 000) or five years in prison.
Offence relating to hazardous matters would attract a penalty of K180 million (about US$ 36, 000) or 10 years imprisonment.